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Rebel Desire – Rebel Love
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As a wedding photographer, it’s no surprise that Ashley Murphy, despite her perpetual singleness, is a little in love with love.
When she catches a hunky best man checking her out while on the job, her heart all but shouts, “He’s the one”. Until he opens his mouth. Colton Banks is a cocky lawyer with a mean streak a country mile wide.
Colton prefers order to chaos. He believes there’s a time and place for everything, so when a lilac haired hottie sends him a flirtatious wink while she’s on the job, he’s less than impressed.
When she shows up at his office a week later asking for legal help, his first instinct is to send her packing. But day after day, she returns, finding new elaborate ways to break him down.
It’s not until a life-altering surprise shows up on Colton’s doorstep that things start to change. Ironically, the answer to his problem may be his incredibly annoying, free-spirited new “friend.”
Complications. Lust. Attraction. Love.
As their tenuous friendship grows, the chemistry between them becomes a raging inferno, and everyone knows you can’t deny your rebel desires.
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“No!” I tell the purple-haired menace darkening the doorway of my office. “Absolutely not.”
“But you don’t even know why I’m here!” She stomps her foot, like a petulant child at the start of a temper tantrum. In fact, I’ve seen my godchild do this very thing, and he’s two.
“And I don’t care, either. Leave,” I reiterate, refusing to let my temper get the better of me. This woman punches every single one of my buttons, and something tells me the notion would delight her—which is un-fucking-acceptable.
“Colt—Mr. Banks—please. Five minutes. No, four! Just give me four minutes, surely you can spare me that.”
I bite my tongue, half tempted to tell her those two-hundred-and-forty seconds of my time equates to twenty dollars. “Make it two.”
She nods, wisps of her oddly-colored locks escaping her ponytail with the motion.
“Your time starts now, Miss Murphy.”
“Right! A bride is threatening to sue me! I didn’t want to work with her to start with. She gave me bad vibes, and them together…let’s just say they’re not built to last. But she was persistent, and eventually, I relented, and she signed the contract and paid the deposit for the deluxe wedding package on the spot. But, on the day of her bridal pics—which we were doing at my studio—it was raining. Talk about a bad omen, right?” A full-body shiver works its way through her. “Anyway, I tried rescheduling because I don’t use artificial lighting. It is so not my style. The clouds were completely covering the sun, so it was super doom and gloom. But she refused and demanded we do them anyway.”
Ashley sucks in a deep breath before continuing.
“She wasn’t happy with the pictures. She said they were too dark—well, no shit, Karen, it was practically pitch-black outside—and here’s the kicker, I’ve already shot her wedding, and now she’s refusing to pay the rest of her fee. So, obviously, I’m not giving her any pictures. And now she’s threatening to sue me and is dragging me through the mud on social media!”
Once her rant is finished, all I can do is stare, in utter shock. Who knew you could fit so many fucking words into one-hundred-and-twenty seconds?
She must take my silence as an invitation to keep talking. Because sure enough, her lips are moving. Again. “Stacia said you were the best and so, help?” She wrings her hands and licks her lips. “Please?”
That single word tacked onto the end of her monologue almost breaks me; the way her voice pitched an octave higher with it, her lower lip wobbling, almost had me agreeing to take her on. Luckily, common sense prevailed. Ashley Murphy, while delectably hot, is a headache I neither want nor need.
I suck in a breath through my teeth, bowing my head a smidge. “Ah, sorry. No can do.” I brush past her to open the door, ignoring the way her cinnamon-sugar scent tickles my nose. “I’d like to say it was nice seeing you, but, frankly, it wasn’t. Let’s not do this again anytime soon. Best of luck to you, Miss Murphy.”
She flinches back, the movement almost imperceptible, even as her eyes glisten with unshed tears. I’ll never know if Ashley let those tears fall, though, because she rolls her shoulders back and steps out onto the sidewalk with her head held high. “I’m not giving up!” she shouts as I shove the door closed in her wake, wishing like hell she would—give up, that is.
Two hours later, I’m still agitated. Ashley coming here without an appointment only reinforces everything I know about her. She’s thoughtless, flighty, selfish, and unprofessional; it’s no wonder someone is suing her.
I try and force myself to focus on the task at hand—research for a client—but I can’t focus. Much to my displeasure, the look on Ashley’s face right before she stormed out keeps torturing me, along with a plethora of unanswered questions.
Did she cry on the way to her car? Did she do a poor job on the client’s pictures? Or is she the victim of a bridezilla?
It feels as if the walls of my spacious office are closing in on me. “Fuck!” I shove my chair back from my desk, snatching my phone as I stand. I dial up West. “ ’Sup, man?” he asks, answering on the second ring.
“Headed out. Wanna grab dinner?”
“Depends; does your restaurant of choice have high chairs?”
I snort out a laugh. I can honestly say I never pictured West as a dad, but he’s a fucking natural. Then again, Asher is a pint-sized badass. “I didn’t have anywhere in mind. Hell, let him pick.”
Now it’s West who is laughing. “Hope you’re ready for somewhere that offers toys with their kids’ meals.”
“I’m ready for anything that isn’t this office.”
“What’s wrong?” he asks.
“Let’s talk at dinner.” We end our call with plans to meet up in thirty minutes—just enough time for me to run home and ditch the suit.